Last week, the world was left reeling by Paris’ horrendous terrorist attacks.
With the final death toll standing at 129, it’s a terrible event in a city still reeling from the Charlie Hebdo shootings earlier this year. The scale and ferocity of the attacks is something we’re only just starting to comprehend, and it’s fair to say Paris will be a changed city for a long time to come.
We’re also sorry that the Paris attacks join other recent tragedies around the world. We mustn’t forget, for instance, about the attacks in Beirut, Lebanon on the 12th of November. CNN has reported 43 deaths and 239 people injured from the bombings. Though the latter has received extensive media coverage, it’s fair to say that Paris’ attacks have received more of our attention.
It is a cruel irony that even in a globally connected world, we can lose sight of distant conflicts. We can forget that a terrorist attack against anyone merits concern and sympathy… whether it’s across an ocean or halfway around the world. We can let the frequency of attacks dull us to the horror and suffering each one causes. We can let distance and cultural differences push serious incidents to the back of our minds, or out of them entirely.
But let this be one impulse that we resist. Let us treat all terrorist attacks with the seriousness they deserve. Let us never lose sight of the fact that people matter, whether they’re on the streets of Paris, or Lebanon, or even further afield.
What we don’t know about, we can’t effectively engage with. So let us try to break down those barriers. Our solemn duty as documentary filmmakers, as human beings, is to facilitate that engagement: to bring vital stories to the world’s attention. Let us remember that humanity, across countries and cultures, is always worthy of that attention.